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Eclipse 101: Here’s what you need to know

What is an eclipse?

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On Aug. 21, parts of the Grand Strand will see its first total solar eclipse since 1970.

But what you see, and how long you see it, depends on your location.

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun, casting a shadow on the earth.

As the moon moves across the sun, a shadow will be cast along the ground, darkening the sky, and in totality, turning day into night.

During the upcoming eclipse, all of North America will see the moon pass in front of the sun. But only a 70-mile wide swath of the United States will get to see the entire sun blocked out.

Where to see it

The path of totality will start in Oregon, sweeping across 14 states and end north of Charleston, South Carolina.

Myrtle Beach will see more than 99 percent of the sun blocked out.

According to WPDE Chief Meteorologist Ed Piotrowski, the sky in Myrtle Beach will darken to twilight, some planets may pop out and birds may begin chirping

But it’s nothing like the totality in the South Strand, which is like a clear night sky with a full moon.

Totality on the Grand Strand will occur between Pawleys Island and Folly Beach.

An interactive NASA map found online shows exactly where the path of totality begins and ends.

But why see totality?

“The show is pretty cool for a partial eclipse, but it’s incredible and in some cases, people have said ‘life-changing’ to see totality,” said Piotrowski.

During totality, observers can witness three things that can’t be seen during any partial eclipse: Bailey’s Beads, the diamond ring effect and the outermost layer of the sun’s visible atmosphere, known as the corona.

As totality occurs, the last rays of light from the sun moving towards the earth creates a bead effect around the moon, called Bailey’s Beads.

The very last ray hitting the earth is known as the diamond effect, because the image is reminiscent of a diamond ring.

When the sun is fully blocked out, the corona, which NASA says will appear as a ‘halo’ around the sun, will be visible.

How long will the eclipse last?

It depends on where you are.

The partial eclipse will start at 1:17 p.m. and end at 4:10 p.m.

The time and length of the total solar eclipse will vary depending on your location within the path of totality.

In Pawleys Island, the total eclipse will begin shortly after 2:47 p.m. and last roughly 50 seconds, according to a NASA map.

In Georgetown, totality will last for 1 minute and 47 seconds.

In McClellanville, totality will last for 2 1/2 minutes.

From McLellanville, the length of totality becomes shorter the closer your are to Charleston.

Christian Boschult: 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian

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